An update of sorts

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything new here (over a year if I’m to take the date on that gig review below as an indicator). In between breaking my knee in February 2012 and moving to Berlin for a year, Professional Losers fell to the wayside.

Funnily enough I did more writing abroad than I did whilst living in Sydney, so there’s a lot I want to share with you fine people over time. For now, can I suggest you all check out my pal’s brilliant website Skydreams (made only slightly more brilliant by the fact that I chronicled my time in Berlin for them).

More questionably worded writing about songs and stuff to come.

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Gig review: Mike Patton’s Mondo Cane, State Theatre, 16/1/12

An evening of 60s Italian pop songs transformed into big band tunes with Patton’s trademark screeching embellishments, few could have witnessed anything like Mike Patton’s Mondo Cane before.
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Gig review: Dan Deacon Ensemble, John Maus, Keystone Festival Bar, 11/1/12

Dan Deacon

Two opposite ends of the emotion spectrum were showcased tonight; pure agony in the passionate actions of John Maus, and sheer ecstasy with the buoyant Dan Deacon Ensemble.

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Interview: Miles Kane

miles kane

Miles Kane may not be a household name here yet, but his confidence would suggest otherwise. He talks of Shadow Puppets, his mate ‘Al’ and the gig itch.

You would be forgiven for not knowing Miles Kane’s musical background, considering his successes have pertained mostly to the far off lands of Europe and the UK so far. Despite having been a guitarist in The Little Flames and frontman of The Rascals, he’s still best known as Arctic Monkey Alex Turner’s other half in The Last Shadow Puppets. No surprise then that his inaugural visit to Australia (he’s a self-proclaimed ‘virgin’ to our shores) is as special guest to the national Arctic Monkeys tour. He’s the first to admit the fringe benefits of touring with your buddy.

“Well you know, Al’s [Turner] me brother and we enjoy hanging out,” he says. “The tour is a good way for us to hang out because we’ve both been busy. And it’s a great night of great music, it’s a rock ‘n’ roll night. [This tour] has just come from that, us just having it.”

Kane’s debut solo record Colour of the Trap has helped him step out of the, erm,  shadow of his pal Alex in the UK, where it charted at number 11 upon release.

“It’s been a great year,” admits Kane. “In England and Europe it’s grown a lot this year, and it feels fucking great where it’s at now, so we’re really excited to spread the love really and build that army bigger and get to come over to Australia at the end of the year. I’m excited because I don’t really know what to expect and I hope the people dig it there.”

Though don’t fear, Kane is taking it all in his stride when it comes to winning over the local crowds when he hits town. Speaking of transitioning from playing to adoring fans to a crowd who may never have heard of him before, he’s animatedly confident.

“It’s a whole new challenge, it’s exciting,” he says. “it gives you another lease of life as well. The thing about it all is that you know you’ve made a great record and you know that you love all those songs on that record, and all the b-sides and whatever we play live. I love them so much and I’m not bored at all. It’s a pleasure to play those tunes every night, whether it’s in England or Australia or Europe, or wherever it may be. Wherever it is, it’s always the same each night, and we’re just excited to be spreading it really.”

There’s not a hint of weariness in sight from a man who’s spent the better part of the last year touring constantly in the Northern Hemisphere. He speaks of performing live as if it were ritualistic release.

“I lose me mind on stage now, it’s the best feeling ever, I fucking love it,” he admits. “If I don’t do a gig for a couple of nights, I’m itching. That hour or half hour before, you get those sort of butterflies, but I just want to get on there and fucking rock it.”

With this kind of braggadocio it’s unsurprising to note that the Liverpool lad has opened for both Beady Eye and Kasabian, no small feat after spending a couple of years hidden away after the success of The Last Shadow Puppets’ The Age Of The Understatement.

“I didn’t do a gig for nearly two years, from finishing touring Puppets and Rascals and then I had a blank canvas,” he recalls. “So it took me a while to get back into it, because I didn’t want to do a gig until I’d recorded the record, til it was all done and dusted, so you weren’t doing songs live that weren’t making it onto the record. It takes time.

“I wanted to find what my sound would be, and then you can go out there and you can enjoy it. It did kill me not doing gigs for that long, or even not doing an interview or a photo, I love it all that goes with it.”

Miles Kane – Rearrange

The resulting sound is a melding of catchy choruses, melodic guitar riffs and a penchant for poetic pop songs. Though the songs often give off an air of simplicity, Kane explains that it’s not always as easy as grabbing a guitar and writing a tune.

“With the song Rearrange, that came from three demos. Halfway through recording there were so many songs and so many ideas knocking about and that tune stemmed from, I had that guitar riff – the main riff – on this one song, and I had a song called Let it All Out, which is the pre-chorus, and then the (sings) ‘rearrange my mind’ in another tune, which wasn’t even the chorus,” he says.

“And then we were just sifting through those bits, that riff – the (sings)let it out, let it out’ – is really strong and then ‘rearrange my mind’ is boss so I just put them together over three chords really simply and wrote some lyrics for the verse and that’s how that song came about.

“I’d never really worked like that before, it opens you up to a whole new way of working. I think now you can probably tell from that song, it’s so strong but so simple.”

Kane’s had to take on a new role besides rock star since his record took flight: that of pop heartthrob. It’s easy to see why teens are obsessively writing on the official Miles Kane forums or spending hours Tumblr-ing pictures of him. Just check out his chic and tidy video for Rearrange and it becomes clear. “It’s a very sharp and simple video, isn’t that?” says Kane. There’s not much to it, but it proves that Kane’s 60s inspired music is reflected in his pristine grooming. Turns out he’s well-versed in fashion too.

“I’ve always loved clothes since I was a kid, whether it’s a leather jacket or just a top or a suit, so for this record a couple of years ago I just wanted to sharpen up even more,” he says. “I really got into this French singer called Jacques Dutronc and also Serge Gainsbourg, and the way they always looked so fucking cool, it had a big effect on me. I think that combined with the mod scene of The Jam and the 60s stuff and putting your own stamp on it, it just sort of felt right for me.”

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Record review: Apparat, The Devil’s Walk

Too often ambient equals mundanity. Less can be more, especially if you’re a soundscape wizard like Berlin producer Sasha Ring. Those who know his back catalogue are aware of his command of techno tempos, glitchy beats long before James Blake even touched a synthesiser. On The Devil’s Walk he’s veered left on the electronic path to create a record that is immersive sonically and an imaginative take on a genre done to death.

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Interview: Bachelorette

Annabel Alpers bids farewell to the Bachelorette moniker and talks of a collaborative future.

New Zealand native Annabel Alpers aka Bachelorette recorded her last album in as far flung places as Libya to remote country homes. When Drum get hold of her, she’s walking back from the vegetable store in Brooklyn, her ‘sort-of’ new home.

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Interview: Richard In Your Mind

It’s only been a year since their AMP-nominated debut, but Richard In Your Mind are far from having the sun set on them as Richard Cartwright talks mountains and sunshine.

“I just moved to the Blue Mountains,” beams Richard Cartwright through the phone. “In fact, right now I’m sitting on the porch in a rocking chair, looking out onto the trees. I’ve got a beer and I was just listening to Neil Young.”

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